Do you have the data you need to sell and market effectively to prospects and customers?
In today’s ultra-competitive manufacturing world, it has never been more important to find every opportunity to improve organizational efficiency and product innovation.
For sales and marketing teams in the manufacturing industry, that means using technologies and systems that support complex operational processes and connect information systems used by a vast network of internal departments and external suppliers and distributors. Everyone involved in the manufacturing operation has information about the customer that needs to be communicated to other departments.
Sales and marketing integration for manufacturing is what enables data to pass between every department. It has two main objectives:
1. Achieve a 360-degree view of the customer
2. Break-down silos to achieve greater collaboration and operational effectiveness
Integration provides a 360-degree view of your customer
Organizations need a 360-degree view of their customers. To achieve that, they are increasingly relying on integration of sales and marketing data with other customer data. In a 360-degree view of the customer, data is gathered and reported on from all systems that touch the customer, including lead generation, opportunity management, quotations, billing and cash receipts; customer relationship management, customer service, project and product or service delivery systems, and costing.
The challenge is that different departments use different technologies, which can prevent data from passing through to the right people. Manufacturing creates added complexity because it’s simply a complex environment. Applications may be built to support one or more of the following: engineering drawings, assemblies and sub-assemblies, bills of materials, supply chains, the manufacturing operation, costing and quotations systems.
Fully Integrated Customer Systems Support the New Buyer’s Journey
And, manufacturing IT systems that need integrated with sales and marketing may include customer service, quotations, costing, project management, capacity management and accounting. These systems may be built in a variety of technologies but the most common are: SAP, Oracle, Microsoft GP or custom application built in .NET or Java.
For many manufacturers, each business area using a different technology has historically operated as a separate silo. Breaking down these silos through integration, however, leads to greater collaboration and operational effectiveness. Marketing teams, for example, can take customer data from project teams and feedback from customer service to develop new and better products. And, accounting can improve billing accuracy by obtaining the right amount quoted to the customer from engineers and sales teams.
Yet, integration for manufacturing isn’t always easy. In addition to developing and implementing the integration technology itself, there’s also process change and people training. These challenges can be even greater in a manufacturing environment. But companies that overcome these challenges quickly can gain the competitive edge needed to increase revenue and gain market share.